DULUTH, MN– Waves crashing, rain splashing, wind smashing. That was the scene Monday afternoon in Canal Park as another October Storm left the heart of Duluth battered.
“We were expecting obviously this storm to come. It’s a little difficult to totally predict how it’s going to react, what kind of wave action we’re going to see, and if we’re going to get flooding or not,” says Duluth Fire Chief, Shawn Krizaj.
Emergency crews say they received 130– 911 calls since 11 a.m., of those 77 were related to downed powerlines.
By 2 p.m. multiple roads were blocked off in Canal Park due to standing water concerns. Some places saw up to a foot of water.
Krizaj says, “we were starting to see some dangerous water levels down in the Canal Park area right next to the lift bridge on both sides.”
Local fire and police decided to work with St. Louis County to open the Emergency Operation Center.
As the water levels rapidly rose in the canal, crews limited access to the residential neighborhood of Park Point.
Lt. Ken Zwak with the Duluth Police Department says, “we were trying to get as many vehicles though as possible, one at a time, but a vehicle did stall in the water so we made the determination to shut down the passage into Park Point.”
From limited access, to completely cut off.
“We used the IPAWS notification system to put a shelter in place order in for Park Point,” says Krizaj.
The federal system allows officials to alert and warn the public in the event of an emergency. It is a quick way to get out of life-saving information. In this case, most phones in affected areas were alerted to the Park Point shelter in place order.
The water grew to a concerning level displacing those who live on the other side of the bridge for an hour.
“[the water] subsiding actually quite rapidly and we now have that open again.”
Now all crews can do is wait out the storm and see what Tuesday brings.
“We will be out the next couple of days to assess the damage and see where we are at,” says Dewey Johnson, the St. Louis County Emergency Management Coordinator.
City officials say at this time they don’t believe the Lakewalk sustained any more significant damage during this storm.
Mayor Larson says due to April and October storms the past 3 years, the city has a 20-million dollar bonding request at the state level for the coastal restoration of the Lakewalk and surrounding coastal areas in Duluth.